Lisa Hannigan / s t a r g a z e

Live in Dublin

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Recorded in 2018 at the National Concert Hall during the first weekend of October, Live in Dublin sees Irish singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan in full autumnal splendor, delivering a lush 14-track set with some help from the versatile contemporary classical orchestra s t a r g a z e. Hannigan's quietly majestic ballads, which have always maintained a luminous chamber folk patina, lend themselves perfectly to the orchestral treatment -- the Berlin-based and André de Ridder-led experimental collective have worked alongside a wide array of artists, including Bill Frisell, Mouse on Mars, Poliça, and These New Puritans, just to name a few. Opening with the ethereal "Ora" from 2016's At Swim, Hannigan and company take full command of the audience, with nary a foot shuffle or chair creak to be heard throughout the just-over-an-hour-long set, which was culled from two performances. The orchestral arrangements never feel ostentatious, and are always in service of the song, tastefully buttressing Hannigan's mellifluous vocals and adding depth to fan favorites like "Lille" and "Undertow" -- the already abyssal "Prayer for the Dying" feels downright fathomless. As a live performer, Hannigan is all business (soulful yet far from conversational), but she casts a spell that holds the listener in thrall until the very last note. Rarely does a live LP feel this intimate, which says as much about Hannigan's otherworldly presence as it does the richness of the material.

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